Support When a Job Injury Brings Back Old Pain

The medical care you need when you’re hurt on the job shouldn’t cost you anything. It should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.

The idea is simple. No matter how it happened or why it happened, if your injury happened during work, it’s covered. It’s not on you or your regular health insurance to take of the treatment you need.

But what happens if you’re hurt at work, and it’s not just the new injury that’s causing you pain? What if your job injury causes an old injury to flare up, or makes a pre-existing medical condition worse?

In Washington State, will workers’ comp help you?

It should. This is called an aggravation of a pre-existing condition workers’ compensation claim under the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) workers’ comp program.

Your health care should be covered, so you can stabilize your life.

But it’s hard. Showing the difference between your new injury and aggravation of your old injury requires precise attention to detail.

Talk to the highly experienced L&I workers’ comp attorneys at Bothwell & Hamill to go about this the right way, so you get full benefits.

We’ve helped thousands of people in Central Washington—in Ellensburg, Spokane, Sunnyside, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima, and the Tri-Cities Kennewick, Pasco and Richland.

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Your Medical History & Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition

Your pre-existing condition could be exacerbated by a sudden trauma in an accident at work or exposure to dangerous substances or conditions in the workplace over time.

You could have an L&I claim for aggravation of a pre-existing condition in two major situations:

No. 1: Your work injury exacerbates a pre-existing condition that had nothing to do with work.

This could be any kind of injury you once had. An old sports injury. An old car accident injury. It could be a longtime medical condition, such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or a joint condition. It could be a congenital disease you’ve had since birth.

No. 2: Your work injury exacerbates a pre-existing condition from an earlier work injury.

This could involve opening an old workers’ comp claim, which requires special legal care. If your new work injury on top of your old work injury may lead to permanent disability, it’s important to argue for the long-term benefits you’ll need.

Not only do Washington workers’ comp benefits provide crucial medical care, they provide replacement wages when you can’t work. After the disruption of a job injury, this is how you fight for your financial security.

Everybody’s case is different. Let the Washington workers’ comp lawyers at Bothwell & Hamill take a look at your situation. It’s a free evaluation.

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Washington Workers’ Comp: What Type of Pre-Existing Condition Do You Have?

In addition to the cause of your earlier health problems, the way you approach your workers’ compensation claim for aggravation of a pre-existing condition depends on the nature of your earlier health problem:

  • Was it symptomatic? If your pre-existing condition had clear symptoms, your claim should show that your on-the-job injury aggravated those symptoms, and you must demonstrate that your symptoms wouldn’t have gotten worse without the new injury.
  • Was it asymptomatic? It’s possible to claim workers’ comp benefits when a job injury aggravates a medical condition that didn’t previously have symptoms that you actively felt. Maybe it’s an underlying health problem that hasn’t bothered you much yet. You might hear people call this “lighting up” a pre-existing condition.

When you’re talking about overlapping injuries and medical issues, it’s complicated.

Distinguishing between old injury symptoms and new injury symptoms can be tricky. Showing what the new injury did to the symptoms of a previous injury is highly technical.

One of the major parts of any workers’ comp claim is proving that the injury happened at work. In some cases, that’s obvious. When pre-existing conditions are involved, it’s more confusing.

So a workers’ comp claim for exacerbation of a pre-existing condition requires strong medical evidence.

You’ll need medical records to document your earlier injury or illness, and medical documentation of how your fresh injury inflamed the previous ailment.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at Bothwell & Hamill know what to do.

With our attorneys backing up your claim, you can feel confident knowing that someone skilled is out there pursuing the resources you need after a work-related health setback, so you can protect your lifestyle and future.

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More Questions?

You might have a lot of questions. Bothwell & Hamill has answers.

Common Questions »
Yakima client happy after winning worker's comp with the help of Tim Hamill

I appreciate that Mr. Hamill took my case when the other attorneys in the area would not. He has helped me obtain the funds due me from L&I.”


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